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The Alliance Launches a New Initiative to Support Advocates in Centering Lived Experience and Sharing Power

The Alliance for Early Success is launching a new community of practice for state advocacy organizations to increase their capacity to engage in authentic and impactful partnerships rooted in lived experiences and the values of racial equity and shared power. The Centering Parent and Practitioner Power Community of Practice (CPPP) will be a nine-month experience dedicated to courageous conversations to deepen understanding, appreciation, and skills to equitably value the expertise of community members in policy and advocacy work.

“What could our society be if those who are in closest proximity to an issue had direct access to the power and resources needed to address that issue?” says Danielle Davis, founder of Liberated Development and facilitator of the CPPP. “I’m excited to work alongside CPPP members as they begin to not only answer that question, but to embody it! Shifting from “working on behalf of” to “leading in partnership with” creates holistic and true systemic change at all levels.”

Through nine learning sessions, CPPP members will strengthen their capacity to engage in authentic and impactful partnerships with parents and practitioners. As a capacity-building effort, CPPP will be practice-oriented (i.e., focus on what we can do now) as well as aspirational (i.e., build towards a future we would like to see).

During this experience, advocates will have the opportunity to

  1. develop personal and interpersonal awareness by reflecting on their own and others’ racial socialization and its impact on approaches to advocacy; 
  2. construct critical awareness of the racial contexts, histories, policies and practices inherent in the systems that impact young children, families, and practitioners, and; 
  3. address and build a path toward power sharing, authentic and reciprocal engagement, and action.

This is an opportunity to reimagine how the success of advocacy efforts are measured and how equity is embodied and demonstrated through the design and implementation of early childhood policy. “Advocates must continue to fight for greater access to high-quality supports for all children and families AND do it in more inclusive ways that honor the expertise and values of communities who are most impacted,” said Thelma Wong, a co-facilitator with Davis. “This community of practice will re-imagine how this work gets done by co-creating new ways of building collective power.”

The CPPP will align with the Alliance’s revised Theory of Change and new Power Equity Initiative — a broad multi-component strategy to align the organization’s investments and influence in support of collective power in state advocacy. The initiative includes new work in developing the Alliance network’s skills to center racial equity, value lived experience, nurture coalitions, and build community-based advocacy capacity. “The Alliance believes that collective power is essential to equitable and effective policies and ensures early childhood issues have the critical constituencies that make them enduring political priorities,” said Helene Stebbins, Executive Director at the Alliance. All state allies participating in the CPPP will be welcomed and expected to contribute to collective learning.